CSCC Reports 2012: River Thames - Cookham / Cliveden area - Sunday 20th May 2012
On a grey and not terribly warm Sunday 20th May 2012, Chris, Marc, Dan, Gavin and Karen left a car at Boulter's Lock for shuttling then continued to Odney Lane in Cookham to put in on a backwater off the Thames.
We explored various braids and side streams, (more than once thwarted by "Private" signs and weirs), and avoiding the mayflies that were emerging from the river in their hundreds, before heading out into the main Thames channel upriver towards Bourne End – where we picnicked on a bench on the bank, and/or sampled wares from a lurking ice-cream van.
After lunch we headed back downstream, keeping an unsuccessful eye out for Rolf Harris, back through Cookham and on to Cliveden Reach, where we were very impressed by the high banks and beautiful scenery. At this point we turned again and paddled up along Hedsor Water – Chris had done his homework and found that this once-restricted stretch was now open to all. We marvelled at the large and impressive dwelling on the banks, then battled with the current in a shallow section under a bridge.... then reached the weir at the end and turned around for a ride back with the flow.
Discussion about the Profumo affair and just which
summerhouse was the relevant one occupied us for the next little while, and then we attempted to get up a narrow and muddy backwater (not the one we’d spotted on the map, although Marc decided it would be a good spot for a romantic pause with the lady of his choosing on a future trip), before extricating ourselves and returning to the river before diverting up the planned, rather wider and nicer, channel – White Brook.
Finally we continued down the Thames to Boulter’s Lock, where we stopped on the island for hot drinks (long anticipated) and the annual fair and plastic duck release (not at all expected)! Some confusion ensued as we temporarily lost a paddler or two to the delights of the tombola and burger stalls, but finally we were together once more for the final short leg to the lock cut and get-out, where the shuttle commenced.
A very nice stretch to paddle – that I would definitely like to repeat on a day with bluer skies! – and thanks very much to Chris for researching and organising.
Total distance paddled was ten miles.
Karen’s photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16287856@N02/sets/72157629827753716/